Engineered Hardwood Through the Years


In recent times, engineered hardwood flooring has become a more popular alternative to traditional hardwood. It is known for being easy to install and withstanding moisture well. If we follow the history of engineered flooring, it can be traced all the way back to the early 1900’s. Read on to find out more about this prominent floorings origins. 

The Beginnings of Engineered Hardwood

Engineered hardwood can be traced back to 1903 when the E.L. Roberts company began offering an innovative form of flooring called ‘wood carpeting’. This type of flooring consisted on 1 ½ x 5 1/16” wooden strips that would be glued to heavy canvas and installed by tacked down with brads. After the wood was installed, it was sanded and finished with varnishes that were usually Tung oils from China. The floors were then hot waxed and buffed with a floor brush to make the finish more durable.

Engineered Wood and World War II

Engineered hardwood would be taken to the next level after WWII. Prior to the war, most homes had solid hardwood flooring where homes were built on raised wooden sub-floors which allowed solid wood to be installed by nailing planks to the sub-floor. After WWII veterans came home from the war, married and started families, there was an increased demand for new homes that needed to be built quickly and inexpensively. Tract housing was therefore built with concrete slab foundations that would replace raised wood sub-floors. Although the houses were a quick and convenient way to provide housing, they presented a problem for the flooring industry because the solid wood could not be put directly onto the concrete. This created a need for new types of flooring and many homeowners opted for linoleum, wall or wall carpeting; as a result the hardwood flooring industry began to suffer financially. In order to remain competitive, engineered hardwood was then born. 

The Evolution of Engineered Hardwood

It took a while for engineered hardwood to catch on. Many still preferred the look and durability that traditional hardwood had to offer. But over the years, engineered hardwood manufacturers have made improvements that put it over the top. The flooring used to come in a single thickness but now range from 3/8 to ¾ inches thickness, making for increased quality. Some engineered hardwood also feature an advanced tongue and groove system that locks them in place to save time and money during installation. These also allow for added versatility as they can be laid over old floors, cork underlays and radiant heat systems. Engineered floors are also more attractive than ever, offering everything from hand scraped options, distressed looks to more traditional patterns. These all contribute to how engineered floors have exceeded traditional hardwood per the latest Houzz interior design trends survey.

All in all, engineered wood flooring has come from humble beginnings to become a much sought-after flooring option for many homeowners. We look forward to seeing how it will continue to advance in the years to come.  

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